League competitions do not always get the respect they deserve. Fans often take them for granted, holding cup competitions in higher regard. Most soccer players, however, find it more difficult to thrive in the league, as it requires them to keep on performing throughout the campaign, keep pitching in with impressive performances over 38 games.
Today, we will take a look at five soccer superstars who have mastered the art of consistency in league competitions, scoring a record number of goals. Here are the five players who hold the record for scoring the most goals in a single league season across the top five European leagues:
#5 Gonzalo Higuain (Serie A) — 36 goals
Former Argentina international Gonzalo Higuain has endured his fair share of criticism over the years, hearing taunts for not being clinical enough in front of goal. Napoli fans, however, cannot complain on that front, as the former Real Madrid man was at his very best during his spell in Naples. In fact, he broke the record for the most Serie A goals in a single campaign when he netted 36 times in 35 games in the 2015-16 season.
Higuain played 224 games in Serie A between Napoli, Juventus, and AC Milan, scoring a total of 125 times and providing 27 assists. He won three Serie A titles with the Bianconeri in the 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2019-20 seasons.
#4 Erling Haaland (Premier League) — 36 goals
Manchester City beat the competition to sign Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund last summer. The Norwegian goal-machine not only emerged as the Premier League’s top scorer, but he also created the record for scoring the most number of goals in a single campaign, netting 36 times in 35 games.
Haaland, who is widely hailed as the best striker in the world at the moment, featured in 53 games for City in all competitions last term, scoring 52 times and providing nine assists. Haaland also finished as the leading scorer in the UEFA Champions League (12 goals in 11 games) as City marched on to the Treble.
#3 Robert Lewandowski (Bundesliga) — 41 goals
Germany’s Bundesliga is the only top-five European league in which teams play 34 matches over the course of a campaign. Despite the obvious handicap, Bayern Munich legend Robert Lewandowski has claimed third spot on this list. The Polish striker, who left Bayern for Barcelona last summer, scored 41 goals in 29 games in the 2020-21 season to become the Bundesliga’s record scorer in a single campaign. Lewandowski’s record-breaking run proved to be crucial as Bayern nicked their ninth consecutive Bundesliga title that season.
Between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, Lewandowski played 384 Bundesliga matches, scoring 312 times and claiming 75 assists. He is the second-highest scorer in Bundesliga’s history.
#2 Josip Skobler (Ligue 1) — 44 goals
Marseille legend Josip Skobler scored a staggering 44 goals in 36 games in the 1970-71 Ligue 1 season. No Ligue 1 player has thus far come close to breaking his impressive record. His exploits in front of goal helped Marseille to the Ligue 1 title that season.
Skobler, who last served as Lebanon’s manager, spent six years in Ligue 1, playing 159 matches and scoring an impressive 138 goals. The Croatian finished as the French top-flight’s top scorer in three consecutive seasons between 1971 and 1973.
#1 Lionel Messi (La Liga) — 50 goals
Lionel Messi sits proudly at the top of the list, having scored a staggering 50 goals in 37 games for Barcelona in the 2011-12 season. Shockingly, even his record-breaking goalscoring run was not enough to fire Barca to La Liga glory that season, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid clinching it with a record 100 points. The Blaugrana finished nine points behind them in second place.
The Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner hardly needs an introduction. He has practically completed football, winning 10 La Liga and 2 Ligue 1 titles; four Champions League trophies, and the FIFA World Cup, amongst other honors. Messi is also La Liga’s all-time top scorer, with him netting 474 times in 520 matches for Barcelona.
Having spent 21 years with Barca and two with PSG, he left for Inter Miami earlier this summer. He has hit the ground running in America as well, scoring 11 times in 9 matches across competitions.